Apple’s Thunderbolt Cable: It’s Full of Chips

Think Apple’s Thunderbolt cable is just a couple wires and plugs? Think again. The cable looks more like a miniature computer than cable inside, which explains its hefty US$49 price tag.

Inside Apple's Thunderbolt cableInside Apple’s Thunderbolt cable
Image courtesy of iFixit

The iFixit team got their hands on an Apple Thunderbolt cable and split it open like a snake to see what’s inside — a procedure we don’t recommend since it’s a one-way process that will leave you with an unusable $49 string of wire and plastic.

Inside they found two Gennum GN2033 chips along with several other smaller chips and resistors. “All in all, Apple’s $50 cable contained a total of 12 larger, inscribed chips, and tons of smaller electronic components,” the iFixit team said.

Those Gennum-made chips are critical to the cable’s performance since their designed to ensure reliable data transfer over copper wires.

My god! It's full of chips!They are more than just plugs an wires inside a Thunderbolt cable
Image courtesy of iFixit

Since Thunderbolt, currently available on the more recent MacBook Pro and iMac, offers dual-channel 10 gb/s data throughput, Apple needed some extra tech to make sure the bits flow just as they should, and apparently that costs.

Thunderbolt-compatible hard drives are just now hitting the market. Considering the price of the cables needed to connect them to your Mac, however, casual users may be more inclined to stick with FireWire and USB drives for now and leave Thunderbolt’s substantially faster speeds for pro users.